Kyle Bartley is heavily connected with a move to Middlesbrough, with reports suggesting that Garry Monk has already spoken to the Swansea player concerning a move to Teesside.
Bartley actually followed Monk to Leeds on a season-long loan deal last summer and emerged as the center of the Whites’ defence as the club mounted an ultimately not successful push for the play-offs.
Leeds are in the race to pen the player in a permanent deal from Swansea this summer, but the unsureness of their future – the club are still to appoint a new manager – means a move to the Riverside looks more possible at this moment in time.
The center-half spoke of his wish to join Leeds in a permanent deal back in April, but hinted at the time that the club ‘could be in trouble’ if they did not tie up a long-term deal for Monk.
“If Garry does stay, the club will be in better hands than if he doesn’t,” Bartley said after a 3-3 draw with Norwich City which ended the club’s bid for the play-offs. “He’s the cornerstone of this club at the moment and if they don’t sign him up they could be in trouble.”
Bartley has since returned back to his mother club -Swansea- and their manager Paul Clement has spoken of his desire to welcome the player, and fellow Leeds who is also on loan Matt Grimes, back into the fold.
“When I spoke to Matty Grimes and Kyle Bartley at Leeds, I said ‘you’re Swansea players’ and before I look anywhere else I’m going to look at what we have got from within,” Clement said.
“We want people back pre-season to train and we will go from there.”
Bartley’s form this season has also reportedly caused interest from Burnley and Stoke, but Monk, speaking to Yorkshire Evening Post about the 25-year-old player, said earlier in time to his Leeds exit:
“Kyle’s been tremendous this season. Obviously I’ve got experience with Kyle and I know him very well, but he’d be the first to tell you that this has been by far his best season and by far his best progression as a footballer – the best football he’s ever played.